Do you know what it means to ‘catfish’ someone? What about ‘sadfishing’? These are two terms that could tie into larger risks with finsta accounts. Catfishing happens when someone uses of a false identity to trick another person into revealing information or images of themselves. While primarily used in the world of online dating, there have been multiple cases of catfishing that have turned into cyberbullying attacks on children and young people, with some resulting in serious, harmful, and even illegal incidents. Remember: a fake account will use a false or stolen identity, will not have many followers or old posts, and will typically only engage in text-based messaging (rather than video or voice calls).
Sadfishing is a different issue we are seeing on social media. If a young person is ‘sadfishing’, it means they are posting about a personal problem online to gain support or understanding from their followers in the form of likes and comments. This behaviour could be an indicator that a young person needs further help and support. Both anonymity or privacy with a curated ‘finsta’ audience could lead to unwanted advice, harmful comments, or a lack of engagement with a sadfishing post that ends up making the young person feel even more isolated and vulnerable than before.